tsubame: (wings)
Thursday, August 2nd, 2012 05:05 pm
11 June 2012

Last night I dreamed of two people, hunters of the undead, a man and a woman . . . )

To Love Life, by Ellen Bass

The thing is
to love life
to love it even when you have no
stomach for it, when everything you've held
dear crumbles like burnt paper in your hands
and your throat is filled with the silt of it.
When grief sits with you so heavily
it's like heat, tropical, moist
thickening the air so it's heavy like water
more fit for gills than lungs.
When grief weights you like your own flesh
only more of it, an obesity of grief.
How long can a body withstand this? you think,
and yet you hold life like a face between your palms,
a plain face, with no charming smile
or twinkle in her eye,
and you say, yes, I will take you
I will love you again.

Walking in London, 14 May 2012

I feel, often, a piercing loneliness, and wish that I had someone with whom to share my travels. But there is a virtue in traveling by oneself, that being mainly that there is no one you need satisfy except yourself.

The Tuesday a week past, I set out to walk. )
tsubame: (aqua)
Sunday, April 8th, 2012 02:38 pm
As grey-eyed Athena was sprung from Zeus's headache, so I have headaches for my grey eyes.

And with them complete paralysis of the Right side of my body. Apparently it's a mutation; I'm not up on the research of a cure, and the pharmacy medicines I've tried are ineffective.

When I close my eyes during a migraine I see things-- a sunburst that turns into a neon star, computer-generated people making creepy gestures, a centaur walking away, elevation lines like a map. I have no idea how my mind comes up with these things; my mind does not work properly during a migraine.

I endure it because I have to, there is no choice in the matter. I slept for two days, aside from throwing up and using the bathroom, and my roommate took care of me (which I am deeply ashamed of). It is only today that I feel somewhat better-- but only somewhat.

But. Gods, during a migraine I truly appreciate the miracle of this freckled skin, these unbroken bones, my hair that sparks twenty colors in the sunlight. I appreciate my skills, humble though they may be, because I lose them all. I appreciate my memory because it disappears; I appreciate this computer as a miracle of technology; I contemplate stories and words because they mean so much and I can't speak a single coherent sentence during a migraine.

Human lives are so fragile. My own brain does this to me, and always I am afraid-- what if it lasts forever? What will I do?

I don't know.
tsubame: (aqua)
Saturday, February 25th, 2012 05:15 pm
A random person on Facebook wrote some sort of happy update about her joy in arranging her wedding. I read it and shrugged. How strange, I thought to myself. I didn't understand.

I didn't understand.

I . . . can think of no time when I have loved and it has brought me pure and absolute joy. Every time I have thought, I love you, it has always been tinged with a knowledge of loss, of the ephemeral. I love you, and we will part. I love you, and this moment will pass. I love you, and soon you will go, soon I will go.

Love may last, but happiness does not.
tsubame: (wings)
Saturday, November 26th, 2011 06:43 pm
I woke up to a blue sky this morning, and sat for a while in a short-lived pool of golden light. The night before I had wondered, briefly, just what it was that I was going to get up for, today. The hours stretched before me without plan or design.

You knew, once, I reminded myself. How to be lonely. How to be alone.

About time you learned again.

I had a lovely spicy paella for lunch, and then a square of mingled dark and light chocolate, and then a cup of Earl Grey, and the flavors blended one into the next with utter perfection. I listened to 'Here and Heaven' on repeat.

Joy in small pleasures, in things done solely to please yourself.

I contemplated whether or not to go to the gym-- the gym to which I've been ten thousand times, always the same route (however pleasant), always the same boring gym. Then thought of the nature trail I'd passed so many times, but never explored.

Late November, I thought, it won't exactly be at its best.

But surely every season has its own charms-- I knew that, too, once. My exercise clothes are getting worn, but these days everything I own is becoming endowed with private significance. The jogging trousers I bought in Japan for sports day. The socks from Uniqlo, too expensive for me these days but worth it. The t-shirt that my father brought back for me from his trip to Memphis. The sneakers, a second-hand gift from a friend. The black hoodie bought at a charity shop that somehow kept me warm through last year's biting Scottish autumn. The over-long scarf my friend knitted me from Japanese wool, in its wonderful muted fall colors.

I jogged out past the school fields. There was some sort of sporting event on, and I envied the schoolkids their colors and their easy smiles. Their tendency to take up the entire sidewalk was less endearing. Before I had fully passed them it was starting to rain, and the wind had gotten stronger-- there's Scotland for you, and the perversity of the weather gods; it's a lovely day until I make it out the door.

The nature trail was all over with mud, but not so much as to divert me. The trees were bare, and what leaves still clung stubbornly to the branches were bright yellow against the grey bark. But the holly throughout the wood was green and lush, as were the climbing vines, not yet stripped of color.

I walked through the woods, and began to climb. A feathered pine reminded me of Japan. A stone wall meandered through the woods, another path branching through the gap. Abruptly the sheltering woods fell away into gorse bushes, their darkness leavened by yellow flowers. They seemed low, but still their branches topped my own height. In between, close green grass. I climbed carefully to the crown of the hill, scoured bald by the relentless wind-- the very same trying to push me off the top in abrupt gusts. My scarf flying, my hair whipping and twisting into elf-locks, I watched the clouds rush across the sky, the curtains of pale rain that drew and then parted once more, so rapidly. Birds rose from the abrupt hills around me, dark and rapid and fluttering like leaves as they battled the wind. The long hardy grasses lay flat; small rodent holes and rabbit fewmets scattered amongst the moss. Far away and below, the Firth of Forth was whipped to whitecaps. Between us, the spires of many churches-- I identified the lopsided crook of St. Michael's, the three tall cones of St. Mary's, the strange domes of the abandoned hospital.

I passed a tree strangled by mistletoe on the way back down, and in it perched seven magpies.
tsubame: (aqua)
Sunday, October 30th, 2011 09:30 pm
Staring at my phone, which persists in not ringing. At my calendar, with its neat grid of empty squares. Skype is open on my computer, with a row of empty contacts. Gmail is open, and with it Gchat, but no one has sent me a message that way in . . . well. A while.

I did honestly believe I was a good friend, once. Now, I wonder. Because if I were a good friend-- if people wanted to talk to me, wanted me around-- they would call, every once in a while. Invite me . . . somewhere, anywhere. To do . . . something, anything.

I look back at my calendar, and realize . . . just about everything on it, I arranged. Concerts I tracked down, TV shows I wanted to see, gym sessions I lined up, lunches I reserved.

People are busy with their own lives, I have told myself, so many times, so firmly. It doesn't mean they don't care. You need to take responsibility for yourself. You need social interaction to keep yourself mentally healthy, so you need to arrange it. That's the way it is.

And normally I do that. But-- gods, lately it just seems like I can't. And failing at that just leads me down an endless, spiraling slide of . . . of . . .

I know. I'm aware of it. I know that I'm depressed. I know that it's understandable to be depressed. I know that looking for a job is difficult. I know that. I know.

Too much knowing. I understand too much and nothing at all. I just want to pull myself out from under this pall-- I want so desperately to feel again the joy I have found in the world-- but I keep failing, and with every failure I just seem to go under deeper. The times when I'm happy seem briefer, and disappear faster. So fast that I forget they ever were.

I'm desperately afraid that I'll forget how it feels to be happy.

I was-- supposed to be better than this, stronger than this. I was supposed to be able to succeed, no matter what.

Another failure.
tsubame: (wings)
Friday, October 21st, 2011 01:35 am
The train brought me back to the far north in darkness. I emerged from the cave of Waverly Station to see the castle and the old town illuminated starkly white and unreal above, and the streets glittering wetly under the lamps. I nodded to the man begging outside the station. The shadows along George's Street held accumulated grime and cigarette butts. I caught the last bus, bumping people as I tried to navigate the narrow aisles with too many bags. I tried to find inside me some feeling of happiness, of homecoming--

--exhaustion. Emptiness.

A desolate ache, pulling me downwards, questioning: why, why am I always so far from those I love most in the world. Those whom I value and esteem above all others. Who are so wonderful, and to me, even though I am . . . me.

No one makes me go so far from them. Only me.

Only, ever, me.

I know that there are reasons.

An unbalanced scale. A dream-house of empty rooms that will never be filled. A barren moor under a grey sky. An ever-broken heart. My unicorn.

Once I rear-ended a van with a car. The van was fine; the car had a small wrinkle in the hood. Just that, a small wrinkle. It looked fine, really. But for some reason, it couldn't be fixed.

There are reasons. There are things that can't be fixed.

tsubame: (wings)
Sunday, October 16th, 2011 02:14 pm
These days it feels as if people have fled LiveJournal en masse, and I don’t know where they’ve gone. Granted I’ve been missing myself for quite some time-- first because of the endless black hole that was my dissertation, and then it was off to Rome, and then I entered the secondary black hole of job searching. You would think that being unemployed would mean I had a great deal of free time, and you would be right. But it also means that I always feel guilty that I’m not doing enough to find a job, which means that even when I’m procrastinating I don’t write, because writing is Not Looking For a Job.

I also accidentally fell into X-Men: First Class fandom, and seeing as this is the first time I’ve been in an overwhelmingly huge fandom, I always have an endless backlog of stories to catch up on. While this has been helpful in getting me through the trials of the past few months, it has also once again brought to my attention that I am absolutely and completely addicted to reading. I’ve been reading books at what has become my customary pace, but the reading that I do online is vast and near-constant. I read until I can’t bear to focus on the computer screen anymore, and then I pick up the nearest book and I read that for a while. If I have no book I read whatever I can get my hands on-- cereal boxes, junk mail, old newspapers. My friends laugh at my inability to get through this or that TV show, but the truth is that unless it really grabs my attention, I would rather read.

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I was talking to my mom on the phone the other day. “I know you’re nostalgic for the Jersey shore as you used to know it,” I said, “bustling, full of people, full of life. But when we went there when I was a kid, everything was run down, boarded up, with grass growing through the cracks and faded graffiti on the walls. And I remember that Dad used to take me by Hoboken on the train, and he would warn me that it wasn’t safe, I had to stay close to him. When I started going myself when I got older it was the same-- a bit run down, a bit seedy, long past the bustling days of the Lakawana rail line bringing vacationers in and out. I would go to the Hoboken Farm Boy and buy this cheap, scented Chinese soap I liked, I would go by the old comic book shop, eat at the Karma Cafe . . . but now Hoboken’s gentrified, and the Hoboken Farmboy is a cell phone shop, and the comic book shop’s long gone, couldn’t afford the rent, and I can’t afford to eat in the Karma Cafe anymore.

“I still like Hoboken, but I loved it as it was-- the Jersey shore, too. I’m nostalgic for them as I knew them: abandoned, run down, dreaming of lost glories.”

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Ghazal, by Dilruba Ahmed )
tsubame: (aqua)
Wednesday, July 20th, 2011 02:38 pm
Somewhere, somewhere in the wide world, there must be a person with my name tattooed upon their heart. And that heart beats the triplicate rhythm of my name, a strange staccato, one-two-three one-two-three one-two-three.

The doctor in her white coat, once-upon-a-time, holding her stethoscope to a child’s narrow chest, frowning. “How do you feel?”

That child with shoulders faintly hunched, sitting on the bright impersonal vinyl of the doctor’s bench. Watching the doctor warily with eyes the color of my name. “Fine, I feel fine.”

That child, an adult now, walking this world, the song of my name murmuring through veins and arteries.

We look outwards for the solution to our problems, and it is neither right nor fair-- as if the world was in our debt, somehow, for presuming to exist around us. Such incredible arrogance to think that an unseen hand should have wrought the code of my self upon the person of another.

So, look inside for the answer. Split the skin, the breastbone, the ribs, the flesh, the latticework of blood, the pericardium, and swing the doors wide. Look at my naked heart and tell me what name is written there.

I know what you will find-- a lump of fibrous gristle, unmarked, beating the rhythm of no one’s name.
tsubame: (aqua)
Sunday, June 26th, 2011 10:58 pm
During last week’s game, we got to the stage where we were making plans. Well, Jonathan was making plans as his character, who Lázár has nicknamed “Ponce.” And as he was making plans, he was looking at me for advice and approval.

Which of course Lázár, my current character, is completely unsuited to give: he’s not a planner or a deep thinker. No; it was simply a holdover from last game, when Jonathan played a character named Niccolo and I played Tokugawa-- who was a planner, a rationalist, a strategist.

And who is not entirely gone from my mind, so I felt her surge of satisfaction/triumph. You see, she said to me, you see what I have made.

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I took a walk down to the bank. There were some climbing roses and they smelled the way roses are meant to. There were trees-- so many-- whispering endlessly. There were houses for sale, and I populated their empty windows with my doubts.

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I learned something, long ago: I cannot ask my family to do anything.

Well, that’s not strictly true. I can ask them for certain things. As long as they’re small, and they cause very little inconvenience, and aren’t too expensive. As long as they don’t require anyone to sacrifice on my behalf.

Nor can I call to complain about anything, and expect to be soothed, comforted, cheered up. Nor can I ever expect to be spoiled or coddled, taken care of. All of these things are my job-- just as it’s my job to be okay, no matter what.

But every once and a while I forget that certain things are not allowed. I make a request, something that ought to be simple.

And then I learn, once again.

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I really shouldn’t try my hand at humor when depressed, it makes me far too cynical:

Blankman: ‎KB is sorry she causes cancer.
Me: Only in lab rats, but EVERYTHING causes cancer in lab rats.
KB: Why must I cause such suffering and despair?
Me: Lab rats are born for suffering and despair. Human souls gotta go somewhere on their next round of incarnation. The karmatic burden would be unmanageable otherwise.

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There’s a one-pound coin that I carry around in my wallet, I call it my lucky pound. Because it shares a birth year with me. And because it’s scratched and worn and dirty, kicked around, all its innocent shine worn away. It’s a coin that has traveled far and seen some hard use.

Kind of like me.

And even so, despite all that, it’s a pound. Legal tender. Not worth quite as much as it once was, to be sure, but still worth something.

I hope that’s like me, too. That’s why it’s my lucky pound.

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Written in Pencil in the Sealed Railway-Car, by Dan Pagis )
Written in Pencil in the Sealed Railway-Car, by Dan Pagis

here in this carload
i am eve
with abel my son
if you see my other son
cain son of man
tell him that i

~translated from the Hebrew by Stephen Mitchell
tsubame: (sleepy)
Sunday, June 5th, 2011 10:56 pm
Where are you, unicorn?

Some years ago I got tired of waiting. If you wouldn't come to find me, well then: I would go searching, and find you.

Many a pair of shoes I have worn thin, walking over this earth. Many wonders have I seen. I have had joys and sorrows, fears-- so many fears. And still I haven't found you.

I'm still looking.

Still waiting.

Will you never come to me?
tsubame: (reading)
Monday, May 9th, 2011 11:17 pm

One of the views from St. Michael’s Bridge in Ghent. You just kinda stand in the middle of the bridge and turn in a circle, and it’s amazing no matter which way you look. You can see all the major sites from right there-- castle, cathedrals, churches, bell tower, canals . . .

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30 April 2011 (continued) )

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A picture from Sensei’s concert: Kurahashi Yodo and Ronald Brautigam, 28 April 2011, De Bijloke Muziekcentrum, Ghent

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1 May 2011 )

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A cup of chocolate in a Brugges cafe.
tsubame: (reading)
Sunday, May 8th, 2011 06:03 pm

Taken in Brugges during my first afternoon walking around there. I found a great deal of gorgeously blooming wisteria on my travels-- I never knew it smelled so nice. Sensei spent some time trying to get me to say “藤” and “藤壷” correctly. You’d think it wouldn’t be that hard, but I had a terrible time . . .

Transcripts of my writings from my recent trip to Ghent, Brugges, and Leiden.

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26 April 2011 )

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27 April 2011 )

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28 April 2011 )

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30 April 2011 )

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Sonnet XXX, by William Shakespeare (painted on a wall in Leiden) )

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“But now we are all, in all places, strangers and pilgrims, travelers and sojourners . . .”

~Robert Cushman, Pilgrim Leader, 1622

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Poem 23, by e e cummings (painted on a wall in Leiden) )
Thursday, March 24th, 2011 12:15 am

Here's a truly exotic location, at least by the standards of my journal . . . my hometown. Yep, that's just outside the local Greek restaurant in April of 2008. They have an AMAZING lamb kokkinisto, the dish that taught me that adding a pinch of cinnamon to your average tomato-based sauce results in awesome.

Picture taken to prove to a politely doubtful Japanese colleague that yes, there are blossoming cherry trees in the United States, and they are in fact beautiful-- as beautiful as their Japanese counterparts. The difference between cherry trees in Japan and cherry trees in the US is of course their extreme cultural significance in one place, and near total lack of cultural significance in the other. Sure, people in the US think that the cherry blossoms are pretty, but they're no more significant than other flowers, and a great deal less significant than some (the rose, for instance). Whereas I couldn't even begin to convey just how significant sakura are in Japanese culture.

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I find myself preoccupied with memories often lately-- I who have always been a child of the present moment. Always with me it has been today's dream, not yesterday's or tomorrow's. But again and again my thoughts drift backwards, and I wonder-- what am I seeking there? And why now?

Memories connect one to another, like beads on a string. I think of my brother, digging in the sand-- the sand at the pool that day we three escaped, trying to pass the painful hours-- the gritty, sticky sand at the Jersey shore, the drumming surf-- summer heat-- walking down from Kiyomizudera under the July sun--

Near my house in Japan, a street corner with a traffic light. I would ride my bike out to begin the day's adventure under a bright blue sky. Fly out across the street, standing on my pedals with the wind in my hair, swoop into the turn that would bring me arrowing down the road through the brilliant green of the rice fields. None happier than I, my heart singing inside of me--

A hundred times surely I did this, and now every time is one time, one moment, a single elation, an eternal singing joy.
Thursday, January 20th, 2011 12:54 am

Last spring I was able to go to a huge roller coaster park in Japan with some of my friends. Among the ten coasters in the park they also happen to have the world's largest wooden one; this is a view of it from the nearby Ferris wheel. I rode it once, but found that it gave me a pounding headache. Looks like I've gotten too old for wooden roller coasters. I did fine on the modern ones, though.

I might also have been more prone to headaches at the time, seeing as my parents were visiting. When my parents visited me in Japan I was usually in a state of high stress and constant sleep deprivation/exhaustion.

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Wednesdays are going to be my busy days; biweekly that means class from 9 AM to 9:30 PM, with an hour's break for lunch and dinner/transport each. And then walking 40 minutes home. Today was the first of them, and actually I found myself enjoying it. I like being busy; it makes me feel useful. Which explains why I so mercilessly over-scheduled myself while I lived in Japan; I did in fact enjoy it.

I've actually been rather lazy since coming to Scotland. I think I need to take further steps to remedy this.

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Over the vacation I had a chance for some long talks with my various family members, some of which were quite interesting.

Regarding a conversation with my little brother with attendant thoughts which cover socialism in Sweden, the causes of the American Civil War, rappers, and lottery tickets. )

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I had half an hour during my busiest busy day in which to procure dinner. I wanted to go to the Black Medicine coffee house, because its name is so cool, but I ended up wandering the wrong way. I was thinking thoughts of going into the KFC-- I was running out of time-- it would be easy to order there-- but at the last second I gave in to the terrible yellow plastic beacon of a down-at-the-heels middle eastern place with cheap battered tables and faded posters of deserts on the walls.

And glad I was to have done so. Their baba ganoush was LOVELY. And I found out that the "sh" sound at the end has a bit of a hard "g" sound in it. I am enlightened!

. . . okay, nowhere near. But I get a little closer every day!

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I found some fun and interesting things on the internet recently. Let me share them with you!

A friend who is obsessed with a cartoon show called Phineas and Ferb linked me to this episode which makes reference to Carmell Dansen. At which point I told her that about two years ago Japan discovered this song in its original Swedish. And before long ALL OF JAPAN WAS INFECTED. It caught on so hugely that every anime currently on the air (and many who just have extremely obsessive fans) was making their own version of it (Jack Sparrow's at 2.16, fyi).

The same friend taught me a new French phrase!

déjà moo - the distinct feeling that you've heard this bull before

My stock of French phrases is growing once again! I can now add this gem of wisdom to my recently-acquired "tes moeurs crapuleuses" ("your sordid morals") and "tu cherches à corrompre mon paresseux" ("you are trying to corrupt my sloth"). Thankee, Patrick O'Brian!

This picture is my current desktop walllpaper. About which I said . . . )

To which my adorable sister replied... )

She's so cute! <3

This comic is quite adorable.

Reading through Pandora Hearts led to this string of (mostly) non-spoiler comments on Facebook:

Comments Ahoy! )
tsubame: (reading)
Wednesday, January 12th, 2011 12:03 am
Bach in the D.C. Subway, by David Lee Garrison )

There is a reason why Mozart and Bach and Beethoven are known to this day, and their music played all throughout the world. I bless the technological miracle that lets me have all of them, and all they wrote, great artists and their great art played by great artists, and all for a few minutes' fiddling with search terms.

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An interesting article on one woman's realization of racism in Canada. Because I sadly have had people from various countries-- Canada, Australia, even the US of A (this is just my personal experience, mind)-- try to tell me that racism is a thing of the past in these modern utopias.

. . . yeah, they were white folks. ::le sigh::

I also have a certain familiarity with the feeling of "representing an entire culture," that her boyfriend mentions. Of course it wasn't the same-- even in Japan I was a "favored minority," and furthermore representing my culture was a part of my job-- but it was an incredible amount of pressure, and it did effect my behavior, the way I dressed, the way I expressed myself, and even my thoughts. For the first few weeks, even months, just leaving my apartment was a strain, because I could feel people staring at me wherever I went.

But although Japan became my home, it was not the country of my birth, a place to which I would feel entitled to belong. Although I have experienced my fair amount of abuse over my lifetime for being different, no one ever questioned my right to be in the USA based on how I looked. Which is to say: I can imagine what the feeling is like, but I have never truly experienced it, nor am I likely to.
tsubame: (yue)
Monday, November 8th, 2010 06:36 pm
The mountain dreams of Autumn
The trees dream of Fire
the sky dreams of Earth.

~Joseph Woodsworth
tsubame: (yue)
Tuesday, September 21st, 2010 12:38 pm
Hail, bright Lady of the night.

I am seeking something. In all this wide world, always looking, searching. I don't know what it is, only that it is always beyond my reach.

I have called it my unicorn.

What is it that I am seeking in this strange place?

Edinburgh is a city of spires, Of buff and tear-stained stone. Of hidden places, of broad parks. Of hills and scattered clouds. Of small shops, of curved lines.

Of unicorns.

They are everywhere, but it is so easy not to see them. They sit sentinel over the park, on tall mossy plinths, lost among the leaves. They stand rampant and glaring in reliefs, supporting crests and shields. They crouch in the shadowed corners of buildings, watching the unknowing people pass below.

If you are not the last--

My steps led me, footfall upon footfall, down the narrow roads. I meant to go west, but my feet took me south, down the tree-lined road to the Meadows.

They spread wide and flat and green below the twisted medieval closes of the old city. As if the two are different worlds that bleed together at the edges-- the road is the conduit between them, greenery making inroads to the city, a sparse scattering of buildings giving way to the trees. Shady lanes cross the open space, paths of light beneath the stately branches.

I crossed the compass rose, found the distinctive church spire that marked the beginning of Morningside, and let them guide me south and west. Looked south and east, across the Meadows--

Hello, Luna.

A gibbous moon, nearly full, rising. The clouds passing over, pearlescent. The sky, deep navy and bottomless.

I sank down on a bench and watched, and let my head fill with moon-thoughts. So bright, the moon. We only ever see one face of the moon. What is your hidden face, Lady? What do you see when you look away from us? What secrets do you keep?

The leaves rustled. In the distance, a siren, unreal, a sound from a different world.

Silhousetted against the golden light of the path, a bike glided across the short grass, silent as a shadow, only a shadow. Stopped, and the man riding let it fall, let drop his backpack. And spun there, in the moonlight, danced silent in the meadow. Whirled slowly, kicked a leg high, swung down to touch the earth, then up. Silent, musicless. Here lost in the shadows, there again, against the golden light. Danced beneath the moon.

I watched, silent and still. Should I run to him? But I sat, I could not move.

A final turn, and the slim figure stooped, swung up his bag, mounted his bike again. And swiftly, silently, he slipped back into the night, and I lost him into the lanes.

Dancer on the green. Shadow, shade. Free spirit of the night, the dark sky given form. Graceful, turning, gliding. Do you know me? Do you know I'm here?

Who are you?

The moon filled me, and I walked. South and west, towards the spire, carrying the moon inside of me. I could feel it, cool and bright, leaking out my eyes. Could those passing by see it? Did they not know? How could they not? I moved among them, but they could not touch me. Could they not see it, glowing in my eyes?

Traveller. Journey-woman. Seeker. Watcher in the dark-- not the story but only the one who tells it. Touched, but not chosen.

Who are you?


Who are you?
tsubame: (reading)
Monday, September 6th, 2010 02:59 pm
"I'm beginning to think that Turners are a bit like jazz-- they must be experienced in person or not at all."

xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx

My hometown is beautiful. There's really no denying it. There are endless seas of green lawns, gracious houses, stately trees casting dappled islands of shade. There's an abundance of chipmunks, squirrels, rabbits, skunks, songbirds. Lately we've been acquiring brown-dappled hawks, badgers, foxes, and owls. The streets are wide and well-paved, and once and a while a car glides through. The sky is so blue that at its xenith it is almost purple. The wind sighs gently through arched cathedrals of branches.

It has always been amazing to me, as I moved through this peaceful land of gold and green, that I so seldom see people out and about enjoying it.

xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx

The cast for the Ooku movie is so hilarious and awesome that I can't believe it. I really, really want to see that movie now. Nino as the lead role?! Hilarious enough, but they also cast TAMAKI HIROKI?!

and Tadayoshi Okura from Kanjani8 as theguywhohasamassivecrushonhim.

Oh great gods I cannot stop laughing. And I lack words to describe how awesome this is. And I want to go to Barnes and Noble to read the rest of the manga. Well, the rest of the manga that's out, as it's one of those that is published exceedingly slowly. I understand that they're planning a ten-book release, of which four have come out in English. Looks like there are six out in Japanese, at least according to amazon.co.jp.

oh come on they're all playing men who live in the (female) shogun's harem HOW CAN THIS NOT BE AWESOME.
tsubame: (yue)
Wednesday, August 11th, 2010 03:44 pm
I walked out of the train station one evening, and looked up to see the moon, pearlescent yellow and huge, partially obscured by the roof of a nearby house. I stood a while and watched, my mind full and still like water in a chalice. I walked back and forth a little, getting different views, trying to find again the one that had surprised me so when I first came out. But now the view was different, the moon lower, behind the house. The moon is setting, I thought to myself.

Come, said the moon.

I fetched my bike, switched on the lamp, and I followed the moon. Into a maze of shadowed streets and dark houses, sudden islands of light, curves and corners-- but I was not afraid. As long as I go downhill I'll be fine, I thought to myself. I know the streets around here, there's no way I can get lost.

I climbed, upwards and upwards, straining at the pedals. The moon had disappeared behind the mountain, and I tried to head towards where I had last seen it. I just have to get to the other side of this hill, I thought to myself, and took turns with no hesitation, steep roads past shadowy, blocky apartment buildings. Upwards-- a wide road. Upwards-- suburban houses. Upwards-- an elevated sidewalk crossing. Then a glimpse of some shining thing, through the trees-- but further, further--

I found an abrupt corner and left my bike to follow the footpath. And there-- there she was, the moon, serene and alone in the dark sky, far beyond my reach. But I could go no further. Before me was the great bowl of the valley, with Kyoto in the far distance, and a sea of lights between us. The bright lights below, the fainter ones above. And the moon laughing, bright and yellow, slipping behind the unseen mountains. A horn of light spilling over-- and then a yellowed fang, glinting in the night-- and then gone, all at once gone, like a shell slipped under the waves of the night.

The crickets sang as I glided home.
Tuesday, January 16th, 2007 05:49 am
Woke up at 4:58 from a nightmare.

I was sitting on the edge of a battlefield with my mom and little sister, having politely declined to join the rest of the soldiers. We were given that option as each rank stepped up to the border where the battlefield was to start. Those of us who opted out had to sit on the sidelines where we would be safe.

I watched the soldiers in the fields below shooting at each other, deaf to the calls of their commanding officers (although what help repeated shouts of "Maneuver! Maneuver!" were, I have no idea), watched them fall before the enemy had even been sighted. And I thought, "there's no way we're going to win this."

Still I sat, and continued sitting until I saw a volley released, up and up, arching over the sky. Watched it come down, as my mother said, "it must be some kind of mistake. We're not on the battlefield. They can't shoot here, it's against the rules."

I waited for the bullet in the grass next to my leg to stop steaming, then picked it up to show her. "This is war, Mom. There are no rules."

The next volley came from the left, well beyond where the battlefield supposedly ended. I watched, and tried to calculate where it would fall, if we could move and not be hit. But the black specks multiplied in midair, until they became a cloud, a deadly swarm. I wish I had done something noble at that point in my dream, shielded my sister, told her to run, something. But all I did was sit there, and I thought, "I don't want to die." And, "if and when I open my eyes after this, I will be in hell."

I opened my eyes.

My apartment, while messy, doesn't quite qualify for the netherworld. Although considering how much money I'm burning on electricity to run my heaters this year, not to mention the way I keep falling asleep with the lights on, I might reconsider that soon.

My thoughts regarding my dream are too complicated and disorganized to sum up here. Apparently my mental comprehension of what war is like is stuck about 150 years in the past, though-- not surprising, given how I spent a good portion of my formative years touring American Civil War battlefields. I am given to understand that things have only gotten worse.

No point in going back to sleep. Might as well start my day.